When I write about the topic of hope, I am very aware that it could fall into the category of being soft or not relevant to the collision repair industry. But will you stick with me for at least a few more lines and let me attempt to change your mind? I recently was doing a book study with my two teenage kids. I have a son who is 15, and my daughter is 14. My summer reading assignment for them (and with them) was Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn for Teens by John C. Maxwell. I love to read and want to pass on that discipline to my kids.
Chapter 6 in the book is entitled Hope: The Motivation of Learning. I had never really identified with the word hope or put a lot of energy into the meaning of how it affects us as human beings. It has been a word that the context in my world was, "I hope I can get some sleep tonight," or "I hope this or that." But then this summer, when I read that word and the stories of people who weathered some unimaginable experiences and was stronger on the other side because of their hope, I was moved. Maybe it was I needed hope this year. I am pretty sure everyone with a heartbeat on this planet has required some form of hope in 2020. May I be real for just a moment? When we started this journey March of this year, I had no idea we would still be dealing with this pandemic's challenges.
I am thankful for God's many ways to prepare us beforehand. We were ready to face these challenges because of how we invested in ourselves and our team over the last five years. Although I would be lying if I told you I did not have brief moments of panic. I could stay stuck in my moments of panic, or I can make a choice and choose hope. Not an illusion or fairytale but a belief that we will come out of this stronger, better, and more equipped than ever before to face the challenges our industry brings. Hope allows us to believe the best is still to come. And when we think the best is yet to come, our actions will follow that belief. Belief drives behavior. I do not know who originally made that statement. However, I often talk about it because I have seen its truth day in and day out. I tell my kids, I tell my team, I tell anyone who will listen, belief drives behavior. What you believe about yourself, your work, your business, your department, and your family will show itself in your action. What you do, what you don't do, how you talk, what you achieve, and your effort is evidence of your belief. I have hope that one day we will not be fighting the same fights with insurance companies to pay to repair cars according to the manufacturer's repair procedures. The engineers who built these vehicles are the expert on how to repair, not an insurance company.
That hope leads me to action. I don't just sit by and wait for that to happen; I do something. My belief drives my behavior. And when we all act, collectively, we accomplish more than we thought possible. I do not know what weighs heavy on you; it is a little different for all of us. I recently heard someone say, "Smooth seas do not make a skilled sailor." Life and business will have its full share of storms. As leaders, we must teach the people around us how to create a strategy of hope. We must teach people to think about what a better future looks like, what success looks like, then take the hope for that success and put action behind it. Daily, consistent, deliberate, intentional effort to reach that specific, envisioned future goal. We must teach those around us there will be obstacles that come our way, but it is how we overcome those obstacles that make us stronger, more resilient, and gives us the momentum to keep moving towards our goal.
The difference of hope as a strategy and hope as wishful thinking is looking to the future, envisioning a strategic outcome, and then putting in daily action to reach that outcome. This hope strategy includes:
- Set a realistic, obtainable, strategic goal. (60-90 day goal)
- Create a list of focused daily activities that inches you closer to that goal.
- Create a point system for each focused activity
- Set a daily points goal. Compete against yourself or include other people. Including others helps keep you accountable and moving forward.
Finally, do the uncomfortable. Make the phone call, send the email. Whatever it is that you have been putting off, do it. Then do it again, again and again.